Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Garbled mess in Alabama

Roy Moore and Luther Strange are both saying the same things.  They represent two different moods of the same politics.

Establishment versus hell raiser, maybe.  But both are claiming to be the hell raiser.  And both claim to be endorsed by Trump.

Click: 30 seconds. Actually, I like Moore, too.
Tuesday evening readers will be hearing commentary on the Alabama Senate primary, the vote to decide whether appointed incumbent Luther Strange or former Chief Judge Roy Moore will be the Republican nominee for the Senate seat vacated by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions to serve as US Attorney General.

Luther Strange was loyal to Mitch McConnell and voted faithfully for the Trump agenda.  Trump was trapped.  Trump is now the establishment and a loyal soldier stood with him, so he is in Alabama supporting Luther Strange.  But the man whose mood and temperament is more in line with his own is the opponent, Roy Moore.

The quandary is demonstrated in this ad on behalf of Roy Moore: "I might have made a mistake."

Click Here: Moore coddles sex predators.
Meanwhile, the back and forth between Moore and Luther are familiarly ugly.   Luther is attempting to show that Moore did shockingly bad things, in this ad accusing him of coddling a sexual predator.  It has the same elements as the famous Willie Horton ad:  large black criminal, weird music, deep voiced narration, attribution of evil motives to the opponent.   The implied charge: Roy Moore endorsed a "liberal court" decision, an argument that pushes against every bit of Roy Moore's image and messaging for decades.  The tagline:  Moore is "too risky" for us.

Click Here: Anti-Luther
Roy Moore challenges the way Luther Strange got the office, by appointment of a governor on the brink of leaving office under the weight of an adultery scandal.  Strange had been an lobbyist.  Strange was supported by McConnell.  Strange was establishment.  Strange is part of the swamp, the Moore campaign asserts.  

Click Here: Endorsed.

Insofar as there is a difference between the two candidates it comes down to the division between the person who is endorsed by the reliable conservative gatekeepers, Right to Life and the NRA, and the person who fervently agrees with those gatekeepers and has been a tireless fighter for them in no-holds-barred political rabble rousing and political theater.   Roy Moore gave up judgeships over the issue of bring a statue celebrating the Ten Commandments onto the lawn in front of the state capital, and then a second time when he instructed lower court judges to disobey court orders to process same-sex marriages.  It was a big gesture, courageous and unmistakable and popular in Alabama.   Moore has his body language.  Luther Strange has the endorsements of credible leadership.

Both sides run ads touting the support of Trump, and each accuse the other of not really supporting Trump.   Here Moore does it, saying Strange is actually supported by insiders who are Trump-resisters:   Click Here.   Meanwhile Luther Strange runs attack ads saying Roy Moore fails to support President trump.

It goes both ways, each wanting Trump as proof of bone fide Alabama conservatism.  This is further complicated by the fact that conservative commentator Alan Keyes criticizes Moore for his association with Trump, saying Trump is not conservative enough:  Click Here

Either way, Trump will be able to define this as a win.  He will have a loyal soldier in Strange or a kindred spirit in Moore.   Strange will be less trouble, Moore will raise more hell and say some of the things that Trump would say.

It is a garbled mess and pundits who attempt to draw meaning from it would be overthinking it.   Either way, the voters are getting a version of the Alabama-Trump base voter, either the polite one or the boisterous one.

Nothing to see here.


  1. From here the distinction you are attempting to draw is minuscule, though I applaud the attempt.

    Alabama...47th in education 44th poorest state...over 20% on medicaid (66% children)...this is the future Regressive politics envisions for the entire nation.

  2. The Lessons of Alabama

    The first lesson here is plain: Republicans who cross the Trump base and Bannon are gone. The incumbent was denounced by Bannon as a Mitch McConnel loyalist. That is anethma to the Trump base. Hence he's gone. Bob Corker (R Tn) was a big Trump critic up for re-election. Bannon's Breitbart started a campaign against him last week. He chose retirement rather than face the rath.

    Cross the Trump base and Bannon and you're gone. This applies to Trump as well. If he crosses the Trump base and Bannon, Trump too will be gone. I watched the entire Trump rally for Sen. Strange. Trump made clear that it was a close call in not picking Moore (a retired military officer and West Point grad who went to Vietnam). Trump pledged that if Moore wins ("if I made a mistake") he would "campaign like hell" for Moore. Trump made clear that he would not cross his base.

    I watched the entire Bannon rally for Moore three days after Trump's rally for Strange. Bannon (a retired military officer) said all who cross the Trump base shall perish. He annonced he and Breitbart would come mercilessly for all futue Trump base disloyalists. It was a tour de force proclamation that the Trump base is the ordained victor, and purdging the traitors is all that remains. Bannon gave Trump absolution despite his mistake in supporting Strange, but made clear his patience with Trump is not unlimited. Imnediately after Bannon's rally, Trump denounced McCain as a traitor, red meat for the Trump base, indeed atonement.

    These events in Alabama are as significant as Bannon's successful coup in toppling Eric Cantor. See PBS Frontline "Bannon's War", May 23, 2017, https://goo.gl/hKI7z6. These events in Alabama will be the subject of simular study by political analysts. Expect to see Trump praising the Moore victory, and trying to take credit for it. Bannon will allow that as an incentive for Trump to not stay again. And that's the second lesson: Trump is now in a power sharing arrangement with Steven K. Bannon.


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